Use of replay expanded for LLWS
Little League Baseball is expanding the use of instant replay at this year's World Series.
The replay system started at last year's tournament to review questionable home runs and other close plays at the outfield fence. The system was used twice in 32 World Series games, but neither review resulted in a call being reversed.
Little League officials announced Tuesday that replay would be expanded at this year's tournament, which begins Aug. 21, to review plays in which a batted or thrown ball is ruled fair, but may actually be foul or out of play.
An example of potential reviews under the new rule would be a ball hit or bunted down a foul line and ruled fair, or an overthrown ball ruled in play that bounces into and out of a dugout or a camera well.
"In no event will video replay be used to make a ball 'live' again, after it has been ruled out of play or foul by the umpires on the field," Little League said in a statement released Tuesday.
Little League spokesman Lance Van Auken said in a phone interview that "in no case could an umpire make a foul ball fair again, because by the simple reason that once an umpire calls foul ... the offense stops running. There's no reset to that."
ESPN uses up to 12 cameras per game in televising the World Series, played each year in South Williamsport, Pa.
In another change in Little League's replay system, the decision of whether to go to replay will rest with umpires. The umpire who made the initial call can request a conference with other umpires, then the crew chief can decide whether to send the play to separate replay officials, who would then review the call.
Van Auken said that change was made to get umpires more involved in the process.
Eight international teams and eight U.S. teams compete for the Little League World Series title. The latest squad to qualify is the Kaiserslautern Military Community team, comprised primarily of children of U.S. military personnel living in Germany, which won its regional tournament Tuesday.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press